It’s officially December and officially Christmas time, which means I can’t receive any criticism for the excessive amounts of Hallmark-cringe holiday films I watch while consuming candy canes with my AC on blast (to pretend it’s cold and snowy-duhh).
It’s come to my attention that many staff in the FIB office have a SERIOUS Christmas cheer deficiency stemming from the short supply (or lack thereof) of Christmas films being viewed.
As the resident Christmas-cringe-film enthusiast, I’ve decided to compile a list of all the Christmas films you simply can’t afford to skip this holiday season.
We’ve got an even mix of classics, wholesome goodies, and of course; the cringe-tastic with a special focus on more recent holiday films produced.
Now I’m not saying all these movies are good, and I’m definitely not saying they’re free from all the standard tropes that make a Christmas movie cliché.
But I am saying that you’ll need to grab some eggnog, a couple of candy canes, throw on a Christmas sweater (I’m assuming the AC is already on) and let’s get jingle-belling, people.
The Santa Clause (1994)
There’s a reason this film is at the top of the list: it’s because this is the ultimate can’t-be-missed Christmas movie in all its merry glory. Yes, I’m aware of the two films that followed this one and while they’re not a bad watch- neither compare to the first film.
Plot: Scott Calvin (Tim Allen) finds himself inadvertently agreeing to become Santa Claus after putting on the big red man’s suit and now has to navigate his way through the hurdles of being Santa.
Notable quote: “Charlie, stay away from those things. They’re reindeer, you don’t know where they’ve been. They all look like they’ve got key lime disease.”
You can’t go wrong with Elf. I’m not saying you’re a monster if you don’t like Elf, but I am saying it’s just a little weird. The movie is basically bona fide comedic gold with Will Ferrel acting as an elfish man-child.
Plot: Buddy the Elf, who has grown up in the North Pole all his life, finds out he’s really human and sets out on a quest to find his father in New York City.
Notable quote: “You’re so pretty, you could be on a Christmas card.”
Alternatively: “SANTA!!!!!! I KNOW HIM!!!!!!!!”
The Knight Before Christmas (2019)
If I’m being honest, this film is essentially chaotic-calm. But it’s starring Vanessa Hudgens so of course we’re giving it a spin.
Plot: A medieval knight is transported to the present day to fulfil his ‘quest’, although it ends up being a quest to fall in love with Hudgens character who’s disillusioned by love. Also there’s a weird mystical witch lady who keeps getting called ‘old crone’ even though she’s definitely 35 tops and wearing a bad grey wig.
Notable quotes: “First thing I think we should do is update your wardrobe by at least a few centuries.”
A Christmas Carol (2009)
Don’t be fooled by the animation folks, this one’s a little too chilling for the kiddies. Aside from the classic story retold from Charles Dickens A Christmas Carol (1843), this films production is what makes it great. Disney used 3D computer-animated technology to capture the performance and likeness of its cast members and the end result is a stunning piece of holiday-themed dark fantasy.
Plot: Ebenezer Scrooge is a miserable, selfish man who encounters three spirits on Christmas Eve who intend on showing him the effects of his selfishness.
Notable quote: “Bah! Humbug…What reason have you to be merry? You’re poor enough.
A Cinderella Christmas (2016)
This one is all sorts of cringe, I can’t say the cast are great actors. I can’t say the set is great, or that the plot is intricate. All I can say is that it’s got that special brand of Christmas-trashy I’ve come to love.
Plot: An event-planner gets the chance to let loose as the ‘Christmasaquerade” Ball where she meets a wealthy bachelor, she then runs away at midnight to ward off her evil step-cousin and he goes on a wild goose hunt to find her using her stocking- her Christmas stocking, that is.
Notable quote: Her: I wonder if they get a prize.
Him: I’m looking at her.
*cue Christmas throw up from me*
The Polar Express (2004)
Watching this film as a kid, I thought it was visually incredible. And even now I can appreciate the animation and the overall sereneness of the film. Although now I can also recognise the fact that Tom Hanks’ face seems to be plastered on each character, which is all sorts of strange. Nonetheless, it’s a holiday essential about the true meaning and magic of Christmas.
Plot: A young boy boards a train to journey to the North Pole to meet Santa Claus, and encounters a number of memorable characters along the way.
Notable quotes: “Seeing is believing, but sometimes the most real things in the world are the things we can’t see.”
This film is great for many reasons, if not for the creative explanation of how Santa Claus came to be; then definitely thanks to the graphics that give a nod to old school hand-drawn animation.
Plot: A spoiled, failed postman is sent to set up a postal service in a frozen town in the North where grudges and civil brawls are common day occurrences. Together with a lonely toymaker named Klaus, they build the institution that is- Santa Claus.
Notable quote: “A true selfless act always sparks another.”
A Christmas Prince (2017)
Is it really Christmas if Netflix hasn’t released a new instalment of the Christmas Prince? This phenomenon started with the first film, which instantly went viral for it’s epic amounts of Hallmark-esque cringe. Since then, Netflix rolled out a sequel in 2018 titled A Christmas Prince: The Royal Wedding, and this year we’ve got ourselves A Christmas Prince: The Royal Baby.
Plot: A determined young journalist is sent abroad to get the inside scoop on a soon to be king, going undercover as a Royal Tutor, she gets tangled in some messy lies and some royal romance (shocker).
Notable quote: “Then why do I hear the Dulcet tones of a Glockenspiel.” (Christmas Prince: The Royal Wedding)
Last Christmas (2019)
If you’re going in to watch this movie simply to see Daenerys Targaryen (aka Emilia Clarke) or Henry Golding, then you’d be like me because this was definitely a major contributing factor to my purchase of the movie ticket. You’ll also be pleased to hear the film is actually pretty good, but heed my advice and take a box of tissues and a shoulder to cry on.
Plot: Kate (Clarke) is a frustrated, bitter, and selfish girl who works at a Christmas store despite her clear disdain for jolliness. Enter Tom, an attractive, selfless, charming man that might just be able to change her Scrouge-ish ways.
Notable quote: “Has anyone ever told you there’s something slightly serial killer about you?”
I’ll admit, I was a little weary about this film. Firstly because of its association to Disney+ and their rocky release, but primarily because the plot seemed to entail a feminist approach to Christmas. While I had thought this could go one of two ways: a tragic misstep in attempt to be feminist, or a feminist masterpiece; Noelle ended up sitting comfortably in the middle of the scale.
Plot: Kris Kringle’s daughter, Noelle, is a bundle of Christmas cheer and dedication. Yet her brother, Nick, is anything but. After Nick decides to leave the family business, that is; being Santa Claus, it’s up to Noelle to ensure Christmas runs smoothly this year.
Notable quote: “Traditions change. New ones are scary, but they might be great.”
A little extra cheer….
For the Christmas film enthusiasts out there screaming out the names of classics and newbies not listed; fear not! Here’s a list of some extra films you might consider watching this Christmas season, in case you’ve binged your way through the ones listed above already!
How The Grinch Stole Christmas (2000)
Love, Actually (2003)
The Holiday (2006)
Fred Claus (2007)
Christmas with the Kranks
Home Alone (1990)
Office Christmas Party (2016)
Four Christmases (2018)
Deck The Halls (2006)
Let it Snow (2019)
A Christmas Story Christmas Wish (2019)
Miracle On 34th Street (1994)
The Princess Switch (2018)
Christmas With The Kranks (2004)
I’ll Be Home For Christmas (1998)
Whats your favourite Christmas film? Let us know in the comments down below!